Astronotus: content in the aquarium
Large bright fish of the family Cichlids, living in South America and sometimes found in aquariums around the world, are astronotus. Their content in captivity with proper feeding and care does not particularly affect life expectancy (up to 15 years), but negatively affects the maximum size. If in the wild they easily reach a length of 35-40 cm, then the aquarium rarely grow to 30, but there are exceptions.
Whence such name
Her name was given to the inhabitant of the Amazon thanks to the characteristic pattern on her body. Despite the difference in coloration, depending on the particular type of fish and the conditions of detention, the astronotus bears the resemblance of a star, collected from spots on the scales. It can be red or yellow, bright or not, but is always present (at least in wild adult individuals). Therefore, it is called "star" fish.
What an aquarium is needed
Large and spacious. Astronotus in the aquarium should feel quite free, and since these fish are quite large, the minimum is 100 liters per pair. But experts recommend at least 200. With an aquarium of the required size, astronotics can easily accommodate it. The content with other fish of this species is rather difficult. In addition to their size, they are distinguished by their omnivorousness. So they can not disdain their own neighbors. Therefore, experts recommend keeping them separately for 6-8 pieces. And if you also plant other species, they are also quite large individuals, for example, cichlids, synodontis or catfish, who will not give themselves up for offense.
As tropical fish, astronotics in the aquarium require maintaining a certain temperature. And although the permissible value can vary from 20 to 27 degrees, you can not forget about this moment. This means that if the apartment or office, where an aquarium with fish is installed, is warm enough, additional heating will not be required. In case of poor heating and lowering the temperature to 18 degrees, they may suffer. Although short-term supercooling up to 15-16 degrees of fish will transfer perfectly. But the aquarium certainly needs to be equipped with a compressor and a filter, since astronauts produce a lot of waste and constantly need quite a lot of oxygen.
Nuances of content
Acquiring astronotus, you need to clearly understand that these fish are quite aggressive. And the badness of their character is proportional to size and age. That is, if it is planned to find neighbors for them, it is better to do this until the fish are small (up to 10 cm), because the older they are, the more likely that they will not get along with the new ones. Certain difficulties exist with the formation of pairs for reproduction. Astronotus is a fish whose sex in the fry is almost impossible to determine. The color of the male is brighter and longer than the fins. But at an age when it becomes clearly noticeable, it's too late to introduce them to each other. Such they are harmful, these astronotuses - the content with other fish (even of the same species) is possible only from an early age. This problem is solved by purchasing at once 6-8 pieces in the hope that they will be of different sexes. Of course, if the volume of the aquarium allows.
In addition to a disgusting relationship with neighbors, astronotus, whose content is still popular, despite all their shortcomings, do not get along well with living plants. Or rather, they just eat them. So it's better to get artificial or even do without them. The owner of the aquarium also needs to understand that the location of the scenery in it will correspond not to his taste, but to the opinion of the fish themselves. They constantly move them and move as they want, apparently, like "changing the situation." To restore order is absolutely useless.
Aquarium fish astronotus is very gluttonous. In the wild, the main food is insect larvae and small invertebrates. Sometimes he encroaches on small fish. In general, the creature is predatory, but does not disdain and vegetative food. And you need to feed it often and quite a lot. And the diet should be diversified, including special dry feeds, as well as bloodworms, earthworms, larvae, raw meat (beef) and liver.
Particular attention should be paid to the pair before the planned breeding. That the offspring turned out to be healthy and left whole, parents should be fed a lot and qualitatively. Due to their size and gluttony, astronauts leave a lot of waste. Therefore, the aquarium should have a good filter, and water regularly change.
In the wild, there are mostly tiger astronotus. Their content in the aquarium is also possible, but other varieties are found only in captivity. As a result of selection, monochrome specimens (yellow, blue, red) were extracted, which does not quite correspond to the name of the "stellar" fish. Tiger astronoths have a corresponding color. Their body is gray or brown, covered with strips of yellow, orange or red.
In the artificial reservoirs of America and in captivity there are albinos. Their white body is lightly covered with red spots of various shades that collect into a traditional star or form a kind of rings. A small number of colored inclusions are found in monochrome specimens. As a rule, spots are red, gold or orange. Regardless of the color and pattern on the body, any specimen is called the general term "astronotus".
Reproduction in captivity
In spite of the natural savagery and aggression towards the neighbors, these fish are surprisingly caring parents. For reproduction in captivity they need to feel comfortable enough. Spawning is stimulated by increased and varied nutrition, as well as by raising the water temperature by 3-4 degrees. Reproduction should take place in a separate aquarium, with a capacity of at least 150 liters.
The female lays the eggs on a large flat stone, which must be placed in advance in the bottom. It is better if there are several of them, so that the fish can choose the most suitable.
Before proceeding directly to spawning, astronotics will thoroughly clean the stone they like and will be sure of their own safety. After about 5 days from the moment of laying eggs, larvae will appear from it, and after 2-3 days - fry. Fish are very mobile and grow fast. They can be left in one container with their parents (with sufficient food it's safe). In this case, the feed for the young will be a special layer, formed on the body of adult fish. And after a couple of weeks they will be happy to twine bloodworms or daphnia.
It is important to know that fry grow quickly, but very unevenly. After just a month, the largest ones may be several times larger than the other brethren. They should be set aside to avoid cannibalism. And in general it is desirable to periodically sort the fry, settling according to the size.
Features of behavior
In addition to the fact that these fish like to eat and do not get along very well with their neighbors, there is another problem that must be known beforehand, before astronotics appear in the aquarium. Their maintenance in captivity often ends in death outside the home. That is, they are simply thrown out. This can be due to both a lack of oxygen in the water, and natural instincts. In the natural environment, the astronotus often jumps out of the water, trying to grab the insect near its surface. When feeding in an aquarium, the fish, following instincts, repeats the trick and is on the floor. To avoid these troubles, you must always use the lid and do not forget about the compressor.
Astronotus - very bright, beautiful and mobile tropical fish. But due to their size and nature of the character requires a certain space and a rich diet. With neighbors is not very accommodating and can ruin the flora. This must be taken into account when it is established.